Some tiny travelers with matching suitcases on their way to a holiday weekend of fun, kicking-off the busy summer season at Lambert Airport.
For many, travel is a big part of summer fun. Even with all the sunshine, warm breezes, starry nights, and frozen treats summer brings- when you’re on a trip with friends or family, it seems to make summer even sweeter. Peak summer travel season kicks-off with the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and Lambert is on a 10 percent growth trend for 2016 in passenger enplanements. Lambert’s airlines are responding with the introduction of more destinations, added flights, more seats and some upgrades in aircraft to certain cities through the summer. Lambert will have 255 daily departures from St. Louis beginning in June, and hit peak service to 70 non-stop destinations this year. Throughout the country, the airline industry is projecting a record level of airline travel this summer of 2.5 million passengers per day.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is expecting continued strong growth in passenger demand as the peak summer travel season kicks off with the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Lambert is on a 10 percent growth trend for 2016 in passenger enplanements.
Lambert’s airlines are responding to the strong increase in passenger activity with the introduction of more destinations, more seats and some upgrades in aircraft to certain cities through the summer.
Additional flights and bigger aircraft this summer account for 2,000 more available seats per day, which is an eight percent increase year over year. Lambert will have 255 daily departures from St. Louis beginning in June. That’s an increase of seven flights per day versus last year.
This year, Lambert will hit peak service to 70 non-stop destinations. That includes new non-stop service from St. Louis to Oakland, CA (OAK) on Southwest Airlines beginning June 5. Southwest will also begin serving Cleveland, OH (CLE) and Portland, OR (PDX) that same day for a total of 103 daily flights this summer to 43 destinations. In addition to its new destinations beginning this June, Southwest has added six other non-stop destinations since the start of summer of 2015: Austin, TX (AUS); Orange County, CA (SNA); Little Rock, AR (LIT); Pittsburgh, PA (PIT); Des Moines, IA (DSM) and Wichita, KS (ICT). Connecting passenger activity is on an 18 percent growth trend in 2016 with 92 percent of connecting passengers on Southwest.
Other destination additions since a year ago includes Alaska Airlines’ service to Portland, OR (PDX). This summer, Alaska will be expanding its second daily flight to Seattle, WA (SEA) to 7-days a week. Frontier Airlines also added three flights/week to Atlanta, GA (ATL) this spring. American Airlines has added an additional daily flight to Los Angeles, CA (LAX) this summer. Many airlines have increased capacity to some of the key cities in their networks.
The top increases in seat capacity from St. Louis versus the summer of 2015 include Denver, CO (Den)-Frontier Airlines, Southwest, United Airlines; Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)-Southwest; Austin, TX (AUS)-Southwest; Tulsa, OK (TUL)- Southwest; Los Angeles (LAX)-American, Southwest; Atlanta (ATL)- Delta, Frontier, Southwest; and Orlando, FL (MCO) Frontier, Southwest.
Even with additional seat capacity, many airlines are forecasting heavy passenger load factors, especially this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. The airline industry is projecting a record level of airline travel this summer of 2.5 million passengers per day, an increase of 95,000 or 4 percent.
Most airlines recommend passengers arrive a minimum of 90 minutes before domestic departures; two hours before international departures. Wait times for check-in and security will vary by airport, by checkpoint and by time of the day. Infrequent travelers, travelers with young children or passengers with large amounts of luggage may want to allow for more time to get through ticketing and checkpoints during the summer travel season.
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The remains of Navy Chief Store Keeper Herbert John Hoard were flown in to Lambert with full honors nearly 75 years after he died in Pearl Harbor.
The Pearl Harbor attack on U.S. forces were 75 years ago this year. Navy Chief Store Keeper Herbert John Hoard perished on Dec. 7, 1941, yet his remains were never fully identified or recovered until just a few months ago. The Missourian enlisted in 1923 in St. Louis. He served on multiple ships until his final assigment on the USS Oklahoma, which was attacked by Japanese aircraft and capsized, causing more than 400 casualties on that ship alone. Decades later, his arrival back in Missouri was met with great dignity and honor with pallbearers from the U.S. Navy and an escort team of U.S. Patriot Guard Riders. The escort returned Hoard to his hometown of Desoto where he is to be bured next to his parents at the Victoria Cemetery near Desoto.
The peak of one of the Terminal 1 domes can be seen through a window as a storm front passed over Lambert-St. Louis International Airport on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.
Spring storms piled up one after the other this week across the region with the peak of the storms hitting Lambert-St. Louis International Airport early Wednesday afternoon. Airfield operations were halted for a short time during the barrage of rain, wind and hail. People smartly rushed indoors from loading and pickup zones in front of the terminals, too, for a brief period until the severe threat passed on. Lambert recorded 1.5 inches of rain from noon Wednesday through Thursday morning. There was no damage to airport complex. However, more than 36,000 local customers lost power on Wednesday and there were many reports of damaged cars, homes and trees across St. Louis.
Rascal, the Budweiser Clydesdale, poses for photos during #STLthanksWeek at Lambert.
Passengers in Terminal 2 got quite a surprise this week with a visit from one very tall horse. A 6-year old Budweiser Clydesdale named Rascal, along with his handlers, stopped by for a meet-and-greet with travelers on Thursday. Clydesdales are known for their extra large stature, and Rascal stands over six feet tall at the shoulder. The appearance was for #STLthanksYOU, a celebration hosted by Lambert-St. Louis International Airport thanking St. Louis and its travelers. Other appearances included the Looney Tunes characters from Six Flags St. Louis, and the St. Louis Cardinals’ mascot, Fredbird. Live bands also performed each day in the concourses. Lambert’s airlines and tenant partners got in on the fun by adding their own colorful balloons and decor. Explore St. Louis had a prize wheel visitors could spin, Southwest handed out free snow cones to passengers on Tuesday, and United Airlines offered free candy and popcorn Thursday and Friday.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is beginning a bridge restoration project that will impact a majority of drivers traveling to and from the Airport beginning this week. Starting May 5, construction begins to repair the Lambert International Boulevard (LIB) Bridge over Air Flight Drive, which is one of the major entrances to the Airport, directly south of Terminal 1. LIB is also the main roadway between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
In the first phase lasting approximately one month, all LIB traffic approaching the bridge will be routed to the north lanes while crews begin repairs to the south side of the bridge. The single lanes of traffic and temporary stop signs in place for the project will cause additional congestion on this roadway, especially at peak travel times. Drivers should plan on adding extra time when travelling to or from the airport during this construction.
The bridge repairs will continue in various phases through late fall of 2016. The bridge is in need of rehabilitation and maintenance due to its age. The structure was built in the 1960’s. Crews will be replacing bridge bearings, patching concrete, resurfacing the bridge deck and resurfacing the approaching sections of the roadway that connect to the bridge.
Sandy Estep gives her husband, James L. Estep, a hug after he returned to STL on a Greater St. Louis Honor Flight from Washington, DC.
More than 20 WWII and Korean War veterans returned to St. Louis after a whirlwind day trip to the nation’s capitol. When they arrived back home, hundreds of family members, supporters and volunteers with the Greater St. Louis Honor Flight organization welcomed them home in Terminal 2. Honor Flight is a national program that pays tribute to our country’s aging war veterans with all-inclusive trips to Washington DC to visit memorials built in their honor. 88-year-old James Estep, a Fireman First Class in the Navy during WWII, was overjoyed to arrive and share a hug with his wife, Sandy. The two have been married 41 years. She says seeing his return brought on powerful emotions, as it did for so many area families. The veterans and their volunteer trip escorts started their day before sunrise to fly to DC on Southwest Airlines. More Honor Flight trips from St. Louis are scheduled throughout the year.
Budweiser Clydesdale, Live Music, Mascots and More Planned for May 2 -5, 2016
Starting in May, travelers will see a whole new happy face greeting them at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL). Lambert is celebrating their customer appreciation week in conjunction with National Tourism Week, May 1-7. The airport, which serves 13 million travelers a year, is unveiling a fun and friendly new campaign to celebrate St. Louis and thank its many travelers. The name comes with a built-in social media hashtag, #STLthanksYOU, and features a cute new character that can be seen throughout the terminals. Passengers can even take a selfie with the little guy as part of a new interactive display window in the Terminal 1 baggage claim (pictured).
“The airport is often visitors’ first or only impression of our city,” said Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “With the 10 percent rise in passenger traffic we’ve seen so far this year, it’s important to remind our passengers of how appreciated they are, and it’s great to be able to do it in such a fun way.”
The #STLthanksYOU campaign will be promoted throughout the month of May. However, the main celebration comes during the first week with a variety of activities and entertainment scheduled for travelers.
Monday, May 2: Two Pedros Band | Concourse C | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 3: Free Snow Cones by Southwest Airlines | Gates E14 & E16 | 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Dave & Greg band w/ Tim McCready | Concourse A | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
St. Louis Cardinals’ Fredbird | Terminal 2 | 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday, May 4: Looney Tunes characters from Six Flags St. Louis | T1 & T2 | 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Kara Baldus Trio feat. Regi Drake | Terminal 2 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 5: Budweiser Clydesdale | Terminal 2 | 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Johnny Chase Duo | Concourse C | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, May 6: Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers | Terminal 2 | 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Airport tenant partners and airlines will be getting festive in their own, unique ways.
Lambert will be promoting #STLthanksYOU on their social media pages. Follow @FlySTL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
New Flights and Gates Added to Accommodate Growing Passenger Numbers
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport started strong in 2016 with a leap in passenger traffic ten percent higher than last year. In the first three months of 2016, the Airport served a total of 3,077,178 passengers (arriving and departing), as compared to 2,796,694 in the first quarter of 2015. February saw a dramatic 15.3 percent jump over last year’s numbers with 960,003 total passengers. January was up 9.8 percent (966,831 vs 880,250) and March improved 6.2 percent (1,150,344 vs 1,083,502). Total aircraft departures were up 4.3 percent, of which cargo departures increased 6.9 percent.
“We work closely with our airlines to meet growing demand for new service, and the public is responding,” said Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “This is exciting news for our region, and we expect this passenger growth to continue with more new flights coming this summer.”
Lambert’s passenger numbers are projected to climb as the second quarter began with eight daily departures added by Southwest Airlines across six destinations. STL gained two new markets with twice-daily flights each to Des Moines, IA (DES) and Wichita, KS (ICT). The airline also added Pittsburgh, PA (PIT), second daily flights to Tulsa, OK (TUL) and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (MSP), and previously seasonal service to Seattle, WA (SEA) is now year-round.
Lambert Airport will soon have a second option for travelers to reach the San Francisco Bay area with Southwest Airlines’ daily nonstop service to Oakland, CA (OAK) beginning June 5. Oakland is a new destination for the St. Louis region. Southwest is also adding nonstop service to Cleveland, OH (CLE) and Portland, OR (PDX) that same day. With the addition of this new service, Southwest will operate over 100 flights a day out of STL.
Southwest Airlines, which operates exclusively out of Terminal 2, expanded its terminal operations this month with the addition of two new gates, E31 and E33. The airline has installed two new jetways, new carpeting, new podiums and new counters at its new gates in advance of the new service. Improvements to the western gates of the terminal (E29-E33) also included refreshed finishes in the main corridor and restrooms, along with new retail and food kiosks to accommodate the growth in passengers to that area of the terminal.
A side-by-side comparison of Lambert’s C16 gate area from the day after the tornado strike, and today.
Five years ago, at approximately 8:10 p.m. on April 22, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport’s Terminal 1 suffered a direct strike from an F4 tornado. One of the most influential and iconic locations in aviation history was a disaster scene. This had never happened before to any major airport. Millions of dollars in damage was done to the airport facility, roadways, vehicles, and airlines. Yet in just 24 hours, the airport was operational again. This happened because of incredible emergency response and community support. Less than one year later, Concourse C was repaired. Interior upgrades that were planned before the tornado were also completed during that time. The result was a major transformation that tells an incredible story of change, progress, and a glimpse of what the future holds. See more at www.LambertExperience.com
Avoid parking fees the next time you pick up a passenger. Lambert provides free waiting zones for motorists near each terminal.